NHS Antenatal Classes: Our Review

Last month, I told you about how we are preparing for baby, including details of which antenatal classes we had opted for.

If you follow me on Instagram, or you’ve read that post, you’ll know that we chose Hypnobirthing over paid NCT antenatal classes.

Your gal’s got to eat you know, we couldn’t afford to do both!

That said, neither of us have been near a baby’s bum before, let alone bathed one or fed a baby. We’re basically complete newbs when it comes to the world of babies.

Oh god, it’s a bit scary saying that out loud. LOL. How are we going to look after our very own human?!

So, we took up every offer of free advice we could, and that included 3 NHS run NCT antenatal classes.

Antenatal Breastfeeding Session

These are 2 hour antenatal classes run by a feeding expert, where a new mum popped in and fed her little one. V brave if you ask me, as she mastered her new skill whilst 10 strangers sat staring at her with her boob out!

And? Well, it wasn’t bad.

There was no “breast is best” chat, and our teacher let us know that they would soon be changing the title of their current “breastfeeding drop ins” to “infant feeding drop ins”. Including everyone no matter how they choose to feed their child.

We discussed the optimum “latch”, and positions for breastfeeding. Both of which I knew very little about, so both were really useful.

We talked about the first feed, how it might happen, and the importance of colustrum…whether you manage to successfully breastfeed or not.

Tongue tie, stomach sizes and feeding regularity were all on the agenda too.

There was plenty included that made it worthwhile going, and I feel confident that I could stop in and get advice at one of the drop ins once Baby R is here.

If you know that you want to at least give breastfeeding a go, this is a great starter session.

I’m very open minded about the whole feeding thing though, and I’m keen not to put any pressure on myself.

Whilst we now understand a few of the basic tips and tricks, ultimately I believe that everyone is going to have their own feeding experience, and work out what is best for them and baby.

We’ll see what happens!

Confident Birthing Workshop

These are 3 hour antenatal classes, focusing on optimal position for labour and birth, assisting you to feel calm and confident.

So despite almost fainting at one point (lol), I really enjoyed this session.

The class was run by our Hypnobirthing teacher, also a midwife, giving us an insight into the course before we began, along with practical information regarding labour.

We practised massage, and learnt about aromatherapy oils that are safe, and recommended for us in pregnancy and labour.

This was invaluable to me, as I had no where to start, but I knew I wanted to introduce calming scents into my birthing experience.

There was a relaxation session, where Ross just about managed to stay awake, and we talked about positions for labour.

I find it fascinating to learn about what my body, in particular my pelvis, will be doing when the big day arrives. Our teacher explained how the hormones work, how the space is created, and what baby is doing for you to work together in birth.

I would definitely recommend this one, and if you’re thinking about Hypnobirthing, but want to find out more, this tends to be a great taster session

Preparation for birth & beyond

Oh dear.

This was offered to us in two separate 3 hour evening sessions, or one 6 hour Saturday class.

We didn’t manage to get onto the 3 hour sessions, so instead, dedicated an entire Saturday to what we thought might be a productive day.

We were both left really disappointed, but I’ll admit, this could be entirely down to our personal needs and preferences.

As I said, this pair haven’t seen many babies bums, lol…and we don’t really know much about the practical side of keeping our small human alive.

So, we were looking forward to learning lots about not only late pregnancy and birth, but how to care for our most precious cargo.

Ross had quite clearly stated that he wasn’t into splitting off into groups for chat, and I can’t say it was top of my list either, but we were soon split into “mums” and “dads” and asked to think about what we might like the other to do for us.

Yep, basically, couples counselling.

Nope, sorry, not for me. Others might really enjoy that kind of support, but for us…it felt a bit like sucking eggs.

I know babies are hard, I know we are going to have to work as a team, but I don’t bloody know when to start bathing my baby and how to do it.

We picked up a few tips here and there, but I was sorely disappointed to spend just 30 minutes at the end of a 6 hour day speeding through how to bath baby, top and tail, change a nappy, and put baby to bed. Without the opportunity to have a go at any of this.

So, what next?

We’re pretty satisfied that we didn’t take up the paid NCT course…I’m just not sure it would have been for us.

And do we feel confident in how to look after Baby R? No, maybe not…I don’t feel like I have a brain full of “how to’s” ready to delve into as soon as he arrives.

But am I worried? No. Do I feel like it matters? No.

Because basically, I’m an optimist, and I know that the human race has been doing this for generation upon generation, and I believe that it will simply just “come together” when he’s here.

And if I suddenly realise I have no idea how to dress my own child (let’s hope not, ay), I have plenty of people at the end of a phone line who will be waiting to help.

Have you taken, or plan to take on any antenatal classes? I would love to know your experiences! Find me on Instagram or Twitter to chat more.

To find NHS funded antenatal classes in your area, click here.

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